Walking down Amesbury
Touching a paperback in my pocket
Like a talisman.
I’ll open it sitting on a bench in Amesbury Town
Colette my long-time friend, my sister, my double
And we will watch the cars turn around the roundabout
When she comes with me she always tells me
About the cats in her kitchen
The flowers that bloomed in her garden these days
And then I feel so protected
In my self-inflicted exile
From the sharp corners of my world
With its ice picks and its ice packs
The American stridency of CVS merchandizing
And the general asperities of life unfolding.
From the cocoon of what’s in-between covers
From her forever encapsulated garden
Populated with cat shadows
And figures stirring hot cocoa at the stove
She shows me to seek the flowers and give them a name.
This is about Colette, one of my favorite writers; about diving into books as an escape from reality, about the idea that life unfinished is unnerving and requires constant soothing (at least for a HSP like me), and about being an expatriate and the pain of it.
I have my ways to get back to my native France, my inner France, when I am homesick. It happens to me once in a while and Colette is one of the best comfort blankets that way.
The quote is from the poet Mona Van Duyn, and the picture is by Gustav Von Arbin, both clipped in a magazine a few years ago.